Adventure Time for Netflix

The streaming and in-home delivery service recently began hosting one of the most imaginative cartoons around.

The Cartoon Network has recently made a number of imaginative and action-packed shows available for streaming on Netflix. Amongst the shows being released are animated series like Batman Beyond and Justice League, as well as Adult Swim shows such as Metalocalypse and The Venture Brothers. The most exciting addition, however is the first season of the Emmy-nominated Adventure Time.

Following the exploits of Finn the Human (Jeremy Shada) and Jake the Dog (John DiMaggio, who also voices Bender in Futurama,) as they battle monsters, save princesses, Adventure Time takes place in the whimsical Land of Ooo. There’s magic and science throughout this vibrantly colored twee world, which sits on top of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, created by the aftermath of The Great Mushroom War. Ostensibly for kids the show has attracted a significant college-age and adult following thanks to the darker elements residing only in glimpses and subtext, as well as the deep characterization and creativity in each 11-minute episode.

Created by Pendleton Ward, the show is inspired mostly by video games and Dungeons and Dragons. From the light unobtrusive 8-bit score by Casey James Basichis, to the random wandering monsters and evil that Finn and Jake encounters, it is easy to see those elements unfold. Much like the best versions of those games, the structure dissolves in the face of solid storytelling and imaginative play.

In Adventure Time, business men can drift on shore frozen in an iceberg, talking mountains can cry boulders, witches protect donut bushes, and the Ice King can accidentally manifest his heart out of his body to wreak havoc in the Candy Kingdom. Imagination spills out of each hand-drawn frame, as the writers and illustrators cram each minute with slapstick humor and word gags without succumbing to limp pop-culture jokes and meager references.

The short episodes may be well suited for this show, where just a quick look into this world can leave a smile on your face that will remain for the rest of the day. Which may be the special sauce that makes this show so interesting: its ability to capture the freedom, wonder, and creativity of adolescence in all of the positive, candy-colored glory it entails.

Currently in its 5th season, Adventure Time airs on Monday nights at 6:30pm on the Cartoon Network.

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